Freshman Emilianov wins discus title, breaks school record on day 2 of Big 12 Championship

WACO, Texas – On a day full of preliminary races that saw Kansas athletes post 17 qualifying marks for finals at the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championship in Waco, Texas, it was KU freshman thrower Alexandra Emilianov that stole the show on Saturday. The rookie from Chisinau, Moldova posted a throw in the women’s discus that broke the Kansas school record on her final attempt to win the Big 12 individual title in the event.
Emilianov came into the day as the No. 2-ranked discus thrower in school history with a season-best mark of 55.58 meters (182-4 ft.), which was 4.60 meters shy of the school record of 60.18 meters (197-5 ft.) set by Jessica Maroszek at the Big 12 Championship in 2014.
The freshman rattled off a career-best of 56.52 meters (185-5 ft.) in her first attempt before scratching on her second throw. Emilianov’s third throw landed at 56.19 meters (184-4 ft.), but it was her fifth attempt, a 60.14-meter (197-4 ft.) heave that sent the rookie into a frenzy.
After posting a huge personal-best mark on her fifth try, Emilianov upped the ante with a final toss of 60.24 meters (197-8 ft.) to break the Kansas school record and seal her victory.
Emilianov’s crown was the second title for the Kansas women this weekend and the third overall for the Jayhawks, as Sharon Lokedi won the 10,000 meters and Gleb Dudarev won the hammer throw on Friday.
The Kansas women’s vaulters contributed to 15 of the 46 total points the Jayhawks concluded with on Saturday to sit in third place in the team standings, with sophomore Andrea Willis placing second in the pole vault and Laura Taylor taking third.
Willis cleared a personal-best 4.34 meters (14-2.75 ft.) to become the No. 3 performer in KU history, while Taylor went up and over a bar of 4.29 meters (14-0.75 ft.).
Senior Courtney Coppinger also contributed six points to the Kansas women’s total with a third-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Coppinger ran a career-best time of 10:07.51 to post the eighth-fastest time ever ran in the event by a Kansas female.
Junior Teri Huslig rounded out the scoring for the KU women through the first two days by contributing one point with an eighth-place finish in the heptathlon.
Dylan Hodgson was the highest finisher in a final on Saturday for the Kansas men, earning a silver medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Hodgson finished in 9:07.82 for the second-place finish and a big eight points for the Jayhawks.
Senior Barden Adams contributed six points with a third-place finish in the long jump. The West Orange, New Jersey native posted a mark of 7.90 meters (25-11 ft.), a personal-best mark that moved him to No. 8 on the KU all-time charts.
The men’s shot put was a successful event for the Jayhawks, earning a total of seven points. Senior Nicolai Ceban finished fourth with a throw of 17.78 meters (58-4 ft.) and Brandon Lombardino placed seventh with a mark of 17.20 meters (56-5.25 ft.).
Junior Joel Long tabbed fourth place in the men’s high jump, clearing a personal-record bar of 2.15 meters (7-0.5 ft.), rounding out the scoring for the Kansas men to total 36 through the first two days of competition and place the Jayhawks in fifth overall in the team standings.
The Jayhawk women earned nine qualifying spots on Saturday, including two by sophomore Jedah Caldwell. The Chanhassen, Minnesota native posted PR times in both the 400 meters and 200 meters to move on to Sunday’s finals in the two events. Caldwell’s 400 time of 53.10 seconds made her the No. 3 performer in Kansas history in the event, and her time of 23.39 seconds made her No. 7 on the KU charts in the 200.
Freshman Honour Finley also qualified for the final in the 400 meters with a career-best time of 53.48 seconds, which made her the No. 5 performer in program history.
Kansas had two qualifiers in both the 1,500 and 800-meter runs. Catherine Liggett and Hannah Dimmick moved on to the final in the 1,500 meters, with Liggett posting a PR time of 4:27.71. Marleena Eubanks and Nicole Montgomery made it to Sunday’s 800 final, each posting personal-best times in the prelims.
Eubanks finished in 2:06.96, which proved to be the ninth-fastest clocking in KU women’s history, and Montgomery finished in 2:08.89 to improve her standing as the No. 10 performer in the KU annals.
Senior Zainab Sanni qualified for the 100-meter dash final with a time of 11.47 seconds, and junior Caraline Slattery posted a PR in the 400 hurdles to earn a spot in the final, clocking in at 59.02 seconds. Slattery’s time made her the No. 8 performer in the event in the KU record books and was the eighth-fastest ever recorded by a Jayhawk female.
The Kansas men earned eight qualifying marks on Saturday, with both Cody Johnson and Ivan Henry making it to the final in two separate events.
Johnson qualified for the 110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles finals, notching personal-best times in both events. The sophomore from El Paso, Texas finished with a time of 14.43 seconds in the 100 hurdles and clocked in at 51.74 in the 400 hurdles.
Henry ran his way to qualifying times in the 200 and 400 meters. The St. Catherine, Jamaica product ran a PR in the 400, crossing the finish in 46.24 seconds to move into a tie for ninth in the KU record books, and posted a wind-aided 200 time of 20.89 seconds to move on to Sunday.
Sophomore Bryce Hoppel and senior Matt Anyiwo will be running in Sunday’s 800-meter final, qualifying on Saturday with times of 1:51.49 and 1:52.01, respectively.
Sophomore Isaiah Cole will be running alongside Henry in the 400-meter dash final after posting a career-best 46.80-second time. Freshman Darius Releford will join Johnson in the 400-meter hurdle final by notching a time of 52.86 seconds in the prelims.
Along with those that qualified for finals, Kansas will have athletes competing in the women’s high jump, women’s shot put, women’s triple jump, men’s pole vault, men’s discus, men’s triple jump, the 4×100-meter relays, the men’s and women’s 5,000-meter run and the 4×400-meter relays. Sunday’s action is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. at Clyde Hart Track & Field Stadium.



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